The Work Continues!

Here at NHCADP, we remain grateful for the work of so many people who made repeal of the death penalty happen here in New Hampshire. Two years later, our work continues, as we support the repeal efforts of activists in other states and at the federal level– and maintain our watch over legislative here activity in Concord.

While much of this website will remain as it was, a testament and record of our state efforts through 2019, we’re using this space to let site visitors know that the fight to end the death penalty marches on, and that we need your continued vigilance and help. 

2021 Focus: Ending the Federal Death Penalty

With the change in administration in Washington comes reason for cautious optimism. As you undoubtedly know, during the last months of the Trump administration, the former president used his executive power to order the execution of 13 federal convicts. It had been 17 years since the federal death penalty was last carried out. President Joe Biden has expressed his opposition to the death penalty, and on July 1, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a moratorium on federal executions, along with a Justice Department review of federal death penalty policy.  Anti-capital punishment advocates welcomed the announcement as a step in the right direction, but reminded us that our elected officials must take stronger action to get us to the goal of abolition. For their part, legislators on Capitol Hill have introduced bills to abolish the federal death penalty. In the House, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) introduced HR 262; 78 members of Congress have signed on as cosponsors. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois has introduced S.582 and been joined by 18 cosponsors.

We can do our part by letting the President and our representatives in Washington know that we support abolition of the federal death penalty. The national organization Death Penalty Action (www.deathpenaltyaction.org) is an excellent general resource for information about death penalty-related news and activities. The website link www.deathpenaltyaction.org/federal-death-penalty)  offers specific information about federal abolition efforts and ways in which we can send our message to elected officials, including an online petition to the President and talking points for use in our personal letters, emails, and calls. I urge you to take advantage of these resources.  And as a handy reminder, here is the contact information for our delegation in Washington:

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
506 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
202-224-2841

Sen. Maggie Hassan
324 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
202-224-3324

Rep. Chris Pappas (District 1)
323 Cannon HOB
Washington DC 20515
202-225-5456

Rep. Annie Kuster (District 2)
320 Cannon HOB
Washington DC 20515
202-225-5206

We can make a difference. We did it in New Hampshire, and we can do it in Washington!

Onward,

Amanda Merrill, Board Chair

NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

Our Longtime Chairperson Takes a Break

With regret and gratitude, the board has accepted Barbara Keshen’s resignation as chairperson. In the words of board member Arnie Alpert:

It is hard to imagine how we could have succeeded in repealing  New Hampshire’s death penalty without her leadership.

When Barbara became the ACLU-NH’s first legal director, she immediately made death penalty repeal a priority for her time.  At the time, the Coalition had an informal steering committee and functioned as a project of the NH Council of Churches.  But once Barbara joined the team, we started raising money, hiring staff, and making much more serious plans to move repeal through the legislature.   

Although she declared herself allergic to many organizational details, Barbara never took her eyes off the important tasks of fundraising, board development, staff supervision, public education, and legislative advocacy.   Moreover, her personal experience as a homicide prosecutor and as a homicide defense attorney gave her unparalleled insights and connections which proved invaluable.   Her determination and persistence kept the rest of us inspired through the years.

We will miss Barbara in the chairperson’s role, but we are happy that she will continue as a board member.”

Thanks go to board member and former legislator Amanda Merrill for agreeing to step in as chair!